2012 Olympic Venue Previews: London Aquatics Center

Location: Olympic Park at Stratford in east London

Events: Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming and the swimming portion of Modern Pentathlon

Construction: Started in 2008 and completed in July of 2011 at a cost of roughly $420 million.

Gallons of Water: 2.6 million

Another Olympiad, another focal point on the site of the swimming competition. Much like the Water Cube was a highlight of the 2008 Games, so too will be the London Aquatics Center. And much like Beijing, it will host some of the Summer Olympics' marquee events, from Tom Daley's dives to the Ryan Lochte-Michael Phelps duels in the pool.

The Aquatics Centre consists of three pools -- a 50-meter competition pool, a 25m diving pool, a 50m warm-up pool -- as well as a warm-up area for divers. The 17,500-seat arena (a number that will drop to 2,500 after the Olympics) was designed by Zaha Hadid, an internationally-renowned architect and winner of the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011.


The most impressive accomplishment on the Aquatics Center is the roof, which resembles a wave and is over 500-feet long and as wide as 262 feet.

Its skeletal structure rests on just two concrete supports at the northern end of the building and a supporting ‘wall' at its southern end. This steel framework was initially constructed on temporary supports, before the entire 3,000-tonne structure was lifted up 1.3m in a single movement and successfully placed back down on to its permanent concrete supports.

After the Games, the Aquatics Centre will be used as a facility for the local community, replacing the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre as the home of clubs and schools, as well as elite swimmers.